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How Lao can I go?

April 01, 2005 -

Oh so much as happened since my last email. Unfortunately my server in Finland has been offline so I could not email you. Computers suck!

Jamie and I had a great time in Lao. We managed a huge amount of back breaking travelling in those 2 weeks. The peak must of been the 13 hour 3rd class wooden bench train ride returning to Bangkok. Oh my god that was bad. The great things I remember about Lao was jumping into the fantastic rivers (I think a dolphin bit me) and drinking BeerLao. :) Thanks again to the newly subscribed Julia for hosting us in Vientiane.

Check out Jamie's pictures, if you have not already:

Jamie has kept a online forum diary which has more juicy details:

Coming back to Bangkok is a living nightmare. I wanted to get out and earn some of those big bucks with that MSc of mine. Disturbingly, I decided instead of going to Australia I should shoot for Kazakhstan, especially after being inspired by the Krgy revolution nearby:

Visas are hell. There is no Kazakhstan embassy in Thailand. There might be one in Malaysia, but the phone numbers I found do not work. There is one in Japan and one in China. I perhaps should have just gone to China, but then my favourite sister recommended Japan and oh no... ;)

I booked a non-refundable one-way ticket and last night I went to Bangkok airport to be told I can't board the plane without an outbound ticket. I blame the travel agent. I am not sure if he was incompetent or just scamming me. ASSHOLE! :(

I am still going to Japan on the next flight, but now only next week and this ticket now with the penalties have now ruined my finances. I can't afford the Kazakhstan visa, let alone a journey to Kazakhstan.

But the plot thickens. Tonight I received wonderful news that a hasty extract from my MSc thesis:

Made in Bali:

Has been accepted an IEEE Conference on Mobile Business in Sydney, Australia:

So my head is whirling now. I guess I should get my ass down to Australia by July to present it. Life can be awful complicated sometimes. I am in an awful (costly) tug match between Sydney and now a very possible PhD and an amazing job in Kazakhstan.

Ok, Bangkok isn't so bad. I think my taste buds have developed an appreciation for Thai cuisine. The "Pat Thai" is now a firm favourite of mine. Also you can order a bowl of cooked mussels for one EURO! I've met up with my old Indian travel mates Bjorn and Felix who doing a great job of keeping me entertained.

Tomorrow we're going to this Ko Phi Phi Island. Yes, "the Beach". :)